Accessible washrooms, trail upgrades and new signage are just a few of the completed projects in northern B.C. this year as part of the province’s targeted Regional Tourism Development Initiative Fund (TRTDI).
In early 2021, Northern BC Tourism Association, in partnership with community destination management organizations, the northwest and northeast planning area Destination Development Advisory Committees, local and regional governments, First Nations, non-profits, and other partners, worked together to identify initiatives that will enhance the region’s tourism amenities and experiences.
“I am very pleased to see the progress on these accessibility and Indigenous culture focused projects in the northern region, especially during these very challenging times,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, in a news release. “Throughout the pandemic we heard from tourism organizations that they needed investment to support regional projects. These projects demonstrate how tourism infrastructure not only support projects that showcase more of what the region has to offer, but also strengthen community connection and create jobs in the future.”
Projects completed or near completion in 2021 include:
- Tumbler Ridge Pump Track: This looped and bermed paved track is the first of its kind in Northeast BC and offers a low-impact activity that is accessible to participants of virtually all demographics. The development of this pump track supports ongoing development of world-class mountain biking in Tumbler Ridge, as well as providing a central gathering place and important amenity for the local community.
- Universally accessible pit toilets, picnic tables and benches installed at the Pidherny mountain bike trailhead in Prince George and Gantahaz Lake in Mackenzie: This infrastructure helps increase access to outdoor recreation spaces. This install directly supports Objective D-8 in our Northeast Destination Development Strategy, which is to increase the presence of facilities, infrastructure, and services that support universal design.
- An accessible pit toilet installed at Buckinghorse River Provincial Park along the Alaska Highway: Amenities such as this are valuable assets for visitors and also important for corridor development work in Northern BC.
- Tsay Keh Dene First Nations Signage Project with Rec Sites and Trails BC: Signage was installed at 12 key locations in Tsay Keh Dene territory during fall 2021. Signage includes the Sekani language translation for “Welcome”, a territorial acknowledgement, and a reminder to visitors of their role and responsibility to maintain balance by packing out waste. The design exemplifies Sekani heritage and concern for the landscape while providing appropriate contact information to report violations.
“Inclusive by Design is grateful for the funding from Northern BC Tourism Association, which is supporting us in increasing access to northern B.C.’s outdoor recreation spaces,” said Janis Neufeld, CEO of Inclusive by Design. “We have completed two of the planned eight installations of accessible amenities, which are a combination of outhouses, picnic tables and benches. The manufacturing and installations are employing individuals with a disability and barriers to employment. Building spaces without barriers improves access and participation for everyone, which in turn builds community as we encounter new friends and new ideas in these shared and welcoming spaces.”
“The Tumbler Ridge Mountain Bike Association (TRMBA) in partnership with Northern BC Tourism were able to accomplish a large and exciting project for Tumbler Ridge and the North in 2021; the Tumbler Ridge Pump Track,” said Jane Butters, TRMBA President. “This project was three years in the making and has had a tremendous impact on Tumbler Ridge in it’s short existence. Tumbler Ridge has seen visitors at the track from every community within the North, and many communities from around BC and Alberta. These visitors support the accommodation, tourism, and food industries. The track is a new and exciting hot spot and is constantly busy. The Velosolutions Pump Track has created some very exciting anticipation of biking development in the North and TRMBA is excited, and thankful, to have had Northern BC Tourism as a partner for this project.”
TRTDI funded initiatives still underway in the region include implementing a comprehensive place-making signage strategy for the North, supporting multiple small First Nations communities to tell their stories through cultural and directional signage and multiple accessibility and infrastructure upgrades to trails around the region through Rec Sites and Trails BC.
“Northern BC Tourism Association is committed to the sustainable development of the tourism sector in northern B.C. and it’s fantastic to be supporting these tangible infrastructure upgrades and installations happening across the region. Not only do they advance important actions and objectives from our 10-year Destination Development Strategies, but they also strengthen the visitor experience and enhance resident quality of life in the north,” said Clint Fraser, CEO, Northern BC Tourism Association.